Sept. 16, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Lakeside Field)
Score: Northwestern 3, #11 California 1
Records: NU (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten), Cal (5-1, 0-0 NorPac)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Sept. 18 vs. Virginia Evanston, Ill. 1 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern turned in a nearly flawless performance Friday afternoon against No. 11 California, handing the Golden Bears a 3-1 loss, their first of the season. Junior Chelsea Armstrong roared out of the gates, scoring the first two goals of the game and adding an assist on the third to tie the NU program record for most points in a career. With her next goal or assist, Armstrong will surpass Sannie Van Djick's 23-year-old record of 139 career points.
"I was really proud of the way we came out in the first half and played with high intensity and a great sense of urgency," head coach Tracey Fuchs said. "That was the best first half I've seen from my team since I've been here. I'm really happy for our group. We've been working really hard all fall, and it's nice to see that pay off."
NU applied early pressure with Armstrong launching a shot just two minutes into the game. Controlling the tempo allowed the offense to test the Cal's freshman goaltender with shots from all over the field.
On the flip side, the 'Cats' ability to keep possession away from the potent Golden Bear offense, which averages nearly five points per game, took pressure off NU's own freshman in the cage, Maddy Carpenter, who recorded two saves on the day.
It was Northwestern who got on the scoreboard first with a superb effort by Armstrong in the circle. While falling sideways to her left, the junior fired the ball across her body past Cal's Maddie Hand in the right corner of the cage for her ninth goal of the season.
Holding a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes in the half, Northwestern's offense was unrelenting. Nikki Parsley
was able to get a shot off just high of the cage, but instead of relinquishing possession, the 'Cats pressed harder, eventually leading to another Armstrong goal.
Regan Mooney sent the ball in on a perfectly executed corner to Julia Retzky who handed it off to Armstrong at the top of the circle. Armstrong fired a rocket past Hand, giving Northwestern the 2-0 lead with three minutes to go in the first.
After the break, Northwestern continued its solid effort, firing shots Hand's way and keeping the ball out of Cal's grasp. It was Armstrong once again who gave Northwestern another scoring opportunity. She took the ball to the right of the cage and sent a quick pass into Maria Kovalchuk who careened it in for the 'Cats' third goal of the game. Kovalchuk's second score of the year gave Northwestern a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead. Armstrong's assist placed her atop NU all-time points list.
After a timeout, the Golden Bears came out swinging, reeling off four shots in a nine-minute span. But when tested, Carpenter and the rest of the defense stepped up in a big way for the 'Cats, earning three saves during that stretch. Cal eventually was able to slip past NU's line and Rachelle Comeau fired a shot dead center to give the Golden Bears their only goal in the 3-1 outcome. For the final 10 minutes of the game, Northwestern continually owned possession and used great touches on both sides of the ball to keep the score unchanged.
Up next for the 'Cats is another top-20 matchup, this time with the 18th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers at 1 p.m. on Sunday.